Gov. Dave Heineman has issued an emergency declaration that encompasses not only the area hit by tornadoes in the eastern part of the state Friday night, but also severe storms that have caused broad damage throughout the Panhandle region.
Heineman got a first-hand look at the tornado damage in Wayne Sunday where significant damage was done to dozens of businesses and several homes.
Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann will be surveying the damage from intense snow storms with emergency officials in the Nebraska Panhandle on Tuesday.
"The damaged suffered in our communities as a result of the severe winter storm and tornadoes is extensive," said Heineman. "I have asked the Lt. Governor to be on the ground in the Chadron area to see damage first-hand."
The governor says Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies are working to assess the situation and offer support to local clean up efforts.
According to Region 23 Emergency Manager Nan Gould, local emergency workers are clearing heavy debris caused by downed trees and power lines. Officials have reported heavy tree damage along the Highway 20 corridor from Rushville to Harrison, especially in the communities of Chadron and Crawford.
Ranchers have also been severely impacted by the weekend's storms. Initial reports show a heavy loss of cattle due to the freezing conditions of the severe storm that also produced strong winds.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality are working with NEMA on this situation. Affected producers are being advised to keep detailed records of those losses as they begin to assess the damage from the weekend.